Common Customs Misconceptions

Nov 11, 2021Blog, Customs, Customs Brokerage

We know that customs can be confusing due to the sheer breadth of everything it covers. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by customs intricacies, you’re in good hands. TOC Logistics is recognized as a Licensed Customs Broker by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This means we can provide expertise regarding entry procedures, admissibility requirements, classification, valuation, and the rates of duty and applicable taxes and fees for imported merchandise.

With expertise and extensive experience backing us up, our customs brokers are addressing some common myths and misconceptions in the world of customs.

Your customs broker is solely responsible for your duties and fees.

A broker is not responsible for paying your duties. CBP regulations state that payment to the broker does not alleviate the importer of responsibility. Although we’re here to partner with you extensively and help ensure your success, the responsibility ultimately falls on the importer to ensure duties and fees are paid.   There have been instances in the past where importers have paid the brokers from the broker invoice, which included duties, but the broker has not paid Customs, for various reasons.   Unfortunately, the importer is still responsible for payment to Customs, and they end up paying duties twice.  Customs advises importers over and over to pay their duties direct either via check made out to Customs and Border Protection , or via the ACH program they have in place.   TOC will gladly assist in setting up the processes for the importers, and provide all of the necessary reporting related to direct duties payments to Customs, so they can reconcile their accounting.

As mentioned in a recent blog, we collaborate and partner with customers as much as possible. Importers have their own share of responsibilities, such as knowing which goods are coming in and in what quantity. Still, if an importer isn’t sure where to start, our customs brokers offer support to help outline crucial areas in need of attention. These can help streamline processes and save money.

Your customs process will stay the same, year after year.

Like everything else in the industry, Customs requirements change frequently. However, your customs broker will work with you to stay on top of these essential shifts and let you know what matters to you. At TOC, we go out of our way to tell you why a change is happening, why it is required, and what we can do to help resolve it.

One of the biggest customer misconceptions is that if an importer hires a broker, that’s the end of their responsibility. This isn’t true. Hiring a broker is forming a partnership. Just like any relationship, both sides need to contribute. It’s on the broker to draft updated information and provide it to organizations. The importer must also stay up to date on changing requirements in order to avoid unexpected fees.

Undocumented freight added to a shipment won’t make that much difference.

No matter how you phrase it, that’s smuggling, which is very illegal. It doesn’t matter whether the unaccounted-for addition is large or small—it’s against the law. As our customs team will tell you, there are no shortcuts in compliance; there are legal reasons and intentional steps behind everything that we do. This is why you must let your customs broker know about additional freight every time. This can stop you from paying fees and help keep you out of legal hot water.

Taking a shortcut in the customs process can result in serious blowback, both for the importer and potentially the broker’s reputation. If there’s another way to meet a requirement, your broker will let you know. In the long run, most customs brokers are simply acting out of an abundance of caution to help you avoid some serious fines. Compliance is key in customs.

Have more customs questions? Our experts offer innovative solutions that fit your needs and goals. Contact us today to receive an estimate, as well as expert advice for your individual customs requirements.


Our capable and experienced team is standing by to assist organizations and supply chains across the globe. Click the button to get in touch with our team.

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